Tuesday, April 6 2004

In 2003 on average 2,890 houses changed hands daily, to the tune of £449 million according to mortgage lender Clear Cut as the property market boomed throughout 2003.

This comes to a total spend for the year on houses of £164 billion spent on 1,054,936 homes, the study calculate

It predicts that spending levels in 2004 are likely to be broadly similar to those of last year, with spending on the buy-to-let market remaining level, or growing a little despite signs that the market is cooling in the south.

For those in the south east and London, it predicts things to remain level as well, but warns that first time buyers in the north may have some trouble as prices there continue to rise steeply.

Around the country those in the South East spent the most last year, Clear Cut says, at an average of 660 houses with a value of £131 million every day.

At the other end of the scale Wales came second to last in terms of daily volume, and bottom in terms of daily value, as the Welsh were found to have spent ‘just’ £15 million a day on 146 houses.

‘The total of £164 billion a year spent on homes in England and Wales equates to the GDP of South Africa,’ said Director of Clear Cut Ben Thompson.

‘The English and Welsh have got the housing bug and it remains our most expensive habit. We feel that we will see continued growth in sales in the northern regions and that house prices will rise more sharply in 2004 here, balancing out a southern slowdown.

‘It will be buyers in the north who keep the volume and value of the market as a whole at 2003 levels in the year to come.’